Nightstand: October 2013

What's on your nightstand?It was downright COLD when I took my daughter to the bus stop this morning (MM is home sick). Frost covered car windshields, leaves covered the sidewalks and lawns and a winter jacket covered my four year old. It’s THAT time of year.

With only another week and a half or so of October, it’s time to write about what’s on my nightstand with the ladies at 5 Minutes For Books. The premise is simple for this one: Write about what you are reading and what you’ve read recently and / or plan to read next. You can even include a picture of your nightstand. Here’s mine:

my nightstand

I had just cleared it all off and put everything back on nicely after buying a new lamp (<3) which was small enough to allow me to finally put the little bookhouse that my husband built for me on as well. So above you can see some of the books I’m planning to read next:

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story by Ree Drummond – The infamous Pioneer Woman, one of my favorite bloggers, shares her real-life storybook romance, set on a historic Oklahoma cattle ranch.

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz – the latest in a story about a zany family of private detectives – “Isabel Spellman is used to being followed, extorted, and questioned—all occupational hazards of working at her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Her little sister, Rae, once tailed Izzy for weeks on end to discover the identity of her boyfriend. Her mother, Olivia, once blackmailed Izzy with photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994. It seemed that the Spellmans would lay off after Izzy was fired for breaching client confidentiality, but then Izzy avenged her dismissal by staging a hostile takeover of the company. She should have known better than to think she could put such shenanigans behind her.”

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster – I started this one a couple months ago, set it down and keep meaning to pick it back up: “This is the story of how a haughty former sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter-million dollars to being evicted from a ghetto apartment… It’s a modern Greek tragedy, as defined by Roger Dunkle in The Classical Origins of Western Culture: a story in which “the central character, called a tragic protagonist or hero, suffers some serious misfortune which is not accidental and therefore meaningless, but is significant in that the misfortune is logically connected.””

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory – “Katherine of Aragon. Known to history as the Queen who was pushed off her throne by Anne Boleyn, here is a Katherine the world has forgotten: the enchanting princess that all England loved. First married to Henry VIII’s older brother, Arthur, Katherine’s passion turns their arranged marriage into a love match; but when Arthur dies, the merciless English court and her ambitious parents — the crusading King and Queen of Spain — have to find a new role for the widow. Ultimately, it is Katherine herself who takes control of her own life by telling the most audacious lie in English history, leading her to the very pinnacle of power in England.”

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (not the other one) – “Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.”

Wish You Were Eyre by Heather Vogel Frederick – #6 in a series : “It’s a dream come true for Megan, who’s jet-setting to Paris for Fashion Week with Gigi. Meanwhile, back in Concord, Mrs. Wong decides to run for mayor, so Emma and Stewart team up to make her campaign a success. Jess and Cassidy are also hoping for victories, Jess in the a cappella finals with the MadriGals and Cassidy in the national hockey championships with her teammates. In the midst of it all, the girls—along with their Wyoming pen pals, who drop in for a visit over Spring Break—dive into Charlotte Bronte’s classic Jane Eyre. Some real life romance follows, as Becca may have found a Mr. Rochester of her own.”

Betsy Tacy and Tib and Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace – I read the first one to my son awhile back and keep meaning to read more in the series. These are books 2 and 3.

Now for the real kicker. I probably won’t read any of these next. November is Nanowrimo and I am not sure how much reading I’ll get done so I plan to focus first on our November / December book club pick, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson:

“On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.”

After I finish that, if time permits, I’ll get to some of the books mentioned above. Otherwise, they’ll have to wait for December.

So what did I read this month and what am I reading right now?

This month I read:

  1. somedaysomedaymaybeSomeday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (October Book Club Pick) – Finished October 8, 2013 – I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I love Lauren Graham and the plot sounded fun. It was even better than I was expecting, honestly. Graham’s main character, Franny, is kooky and flawed and easy to relate to and she does a good job fleshing out her characters to make them seem realistic. I loved all the 90′s era references and Graham did a great job with tying themes together in the book. She follows a somewhat stereotypical formula but pokes fun at the formula while doing so. Add to this a little love story that has you rooting for a happy ending and a fun glimpse into the world of acting. I really enjoyed it and towards the second half just absolutely could not put it down. – full review
  2. My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke – Finished October 13, 2013 – Although Van Dyke is probably one of the greatest actors of all time, he is not one of the greatest writers. He’s very good, but not great. The book flits around from topic to topic and often doesn’t get to the meat of any stories – largely because he chose from the beginning to not write any salacious “gossip”. I applaud him for that but unfortunately conflict is what makes a story interesting usually so although he did his best, a lot of the stories felt a little flat. Like “Once upon a time this amazing thing happened and then this less amazing thing happened, but I’m not going to tell you about it. The End.” Overall… I liked it enough to finish it, but I did not love it enough to heartily recommend it.

Right now I’m reading Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger since it was mentioned so often our book club pick, Someday, Someday, Maybe (the main character is named after Franny from the Salinger book).

“The short story, “Franny”, takes place in an unnamed college town and tells the tale of an undergraduate who is becoming disenchanted with the selfishness and inauthenticity she perceives all around her.

The novella, Zooey, is named for Zooey Glass, the second-youngest member of the Glass family. As his younger sister, Franny, suffers a spiritual and existential breakdown in her parents’ Manhattan living room – leaving Bessie, her mother, deeply concerned – Zooey comes to her aid, offering what he thinks is brotherly love, understanding, and words of sage advice.”

I thought it might be useful to have read both books and Franny and Zooey is very short so it isn’t much of an undertaking. It’s definitely not a favorite of mine so far, but it is interesting so I’m glad I took the time to read it.

So what are you reading?

And will you be attempting Nanowrimo this year? If so, you can friend me here!

7 responses to “Nightstand: October 2013”

  1. Tonia Avatar

    I LOVE your nightstand – that bookhouse is adorable! I’ve read the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde but haven’t gotten around to Grey. Enjoying reading your list!


  2. hopewellmomschoolagain Avatar

    I accidentally started in mid-series with Philippa Gregory and can’t wait to read more! Great list!


  3. Barbara H. Avatar

    I LOVE that little book house! He could probably sell those online!

    Wish You Were Eyre sounds intriguing – I don’t remember hearing about that series. The Constant Princess sounds good, too.

    I have never done NaNoWriMo yet – I love the idea but November is probably the worst month for it, maybe next to December.


  4. Carrie, Reading to Know Avatar
    Carrie, Reading to Know

    I got stuck on staring at your bookhouse. ADORABLE! FANTASTIC idea. SO cute. And I love it. That’s SO COOL!


    1. Jen E @ mommablogsalot Avatar

      Thanks, it’s nice having such a handy hubby and the idea is actually really easy to execute, too!


  5. Lisa notes... Avatar

    What a beautiful nightstand you have. Love the bookhouse! Aw, I remember reading Betsy and Tacy books to my kids when they were little. Good books.

    Have fun writing in November!


    1. Jen E @ mommablogsalot Avatar

      Thanks, hoping I actually finish the book this year, I’ve only completed Nanowrimo once so far.